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F. de Canta
Humboldt on the Orinoco, n.d.
Oil on canvas
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Alexander von Humboldt’s famous expedition to Latin America (1799-1804) inspired many naturalists, scientists, and artists to follow his lead in search of the exotic and unfamiliar. Humboldt and members of his expedition appear here in Venezuela along the shore of the Orinoco River during the first leg of their journey.

For three months, Humboldt traveled the Orinoco through dense tropical forests. Tormented by mosquitoes and stifled by smothering humidity, he lost his provisions at one point and was forced to subsist on wild cacao beans. Despite such setbacks, Humboldt and his expedition team were exhilarated by their discoveries.

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